Gena Rowlands plays a nervous actress on the brink of a breakdown as she prepares for the opening night of her Broadway play. The entire movie takes place in the few days prior to the opening and shows the backstage turmoi... more »l of a doomed production. Rowlands begins to fall apart when an adoring fan dies in an accident and she is forced to look hard at her life. Starring: Gena Rowlands, John Cassavetes, Joan Blondell, Ben Gazzara.« less
"Just a note that for anyone who wants important background information about Opening Night and how it was made, I highly recommend Ray Carney's Cassavetes on Cassavetes book, which is available on [Amazon.com] at a great price. Carney has amazing behind-the-scenes information about how Cassavetes created all of his no-budget wonders completely outside the system. Carney knew Cassavetes and had a series of conversations with him before his death about his philosophy of life and art. Carney also has a terrific web site with writing on Cassavetes and other indie filmmakers. Great movie and great supporting info. Both well worth checking out."
Making It Through
Kelley Mills | Washington, DC | 04/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all I am totally biased - words cannot express the respect I have for Gena Rowlands - she is my favorite actress. You can't help but be "seduced" by her - she is so lovely and has so much class. Even when the movie stinks bad she is at her utmost best. This movie confused me at first -but most Cassaveteses movies do. They frustrate and make one sweat with anger and anxiousness - and that's what makes them so good. Although it confused me it kept my attention and then I finally got it. Gena pulls you in making you sympathize with her plight while at the same time making you glad she gets what she deserves. I was a little disappointed that John had a small part - I love the way he's so cynical, distrusting, and funny at the same time. It's wonderful to see a man enjoy giving his lady the spotlight. I was new to his movies - absorbing them is an experience. How does the saying go - I was lost but now I'm found! If you're looking for entertainment that makes you think and summons your deepest emotions, well you've just hit the tip of the iceberg..."
Brilliant 'actor's film'
firstname.lastname@example.org | Copenhagen | 05/11/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Truly outstanding film about the theater, actors and alcoholism. Only Cassavetes and Rowlands could get this kind of truth on to film - don't miss it! A huuuuuge hit here in Europe!"
This movie is amazing
A. Mavromatis | oakland, ca | 06/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"so...I don't know about the dvd. I have only ever seen this as a movie on the big screen (thank you rep houses and indie cinemas!). but, if you like cassavettes films, opening night is one of his best. gena rowlands gives a mind-blowing performance as a woman dealing with and running from her fears and responsibilities. it's a gorgeous and heavy movie about how staggering it can be to come to terms with who you are and where you are in your life, vs. where you think you should be. of course, as it's a cassavettes film, it's also a lot about what you bring to it as well.
it won't please everyone(see one-star review) but it impresses the hell out of me every time I see it."
"An Actress Under the Influence."
Wing Lee | Toronto, Ontario | 12/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While I watching Opening Night, I was instantly reminded of Annette Benning's "Being Julia", a film with some similarities. It's certainly also a star showcase piece Gena Rowlands, who seems to deliver her best and most vulnerable performance under the direction of her late husband John Cassavetes. It's an elaborate "soap-operaish" drama about the reality of an aging stage Diva. Rowland's character once said," When I was 18, I could do anything...". She's on the verge of nervous breakdown, dued to her lack of self-esteem and confidence in starring in her new play. She doesn't feel comfortable playing the new role, because she worried that if she's convincing enough that her audiences would accept her for just being one kind of character. During the course of two days before the opening night, she gets into feuds with the playwright, director, and producer. She is haunted by the ghost of her youth, whom she couldn't let go of, and embrace her real age. Ultimately, she had to abuse alcohol and chain-smoking before going on stage. Perhaps that was the only way she could forget herself and get into character in order to deliver a mesmerizing performance. This is certainly one of Rowland's best performances of her career. This film also features some fine supporting performances."